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Canine cabin fever

Even the pooches are affected by the deep-freeze's indoor isolation

Posted: 01/29/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 01/29/2014 7:03 AM | Updates

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I do not know how you are coping with this never-ending deep-freeze, but we are descending into madness.

When I say "we," I am referring to myself, my famously overweight wiener dog, Zoe, and the most recent addition to our home -- a watermelon-sized fluffy white dog known as Mr. X, a cross between a cotton swab and a makeup applicator, only with fewer brains.

And when I say "madness" I am referring to bungalow fever, which is what you experience when you live in a one-storey, 1950s-style house and can't go outside because it is so (very bad word) cold that within minutes you would freeze to death in one of the snowbanks lining your driveway and your icy remains would be eaten by wolves.

The point is, it is far too cold to engage in our normal outdoor activities -- counting anthills in the backyard and barking at squirrels -- so we are forced to stay indoors and expend most of our vital energy trying to remain sane.

It doesn't seem to be working.

The wiener dog is the one I am most concerned about. Refusing to waddle outside, she has been spending her time on the couch engaged in a life-or-death struggle with two designer sofa cushions sent to us as a gift by my mother

I personally am spending a great deal of time sitting at the computer, randomly Googling fun and fascinating cold-weather facts to plug into columns, including these two scientific gems I have just found online:

1) No two snowflakes are the same. A scientist photographed more than 400,000 snowflakes to prove that fact!

2) That same scientist later stabbed himself to death with an icicle because photographing more than 400,000 snowflakes would be enough to send Albert Einstein over the edge.

The other thing I'm doing is experimenting with random methods for keeping warm, such as wrapping myself in tinfoil like a baked potato, or putting a tea cosy on top of my head and wearing it like a tuque. The latter method seems to work, but it has drawbacks, such as if your kids see you wearing a tea cosy on your head, they will demand to know what you've done with their real father.

So I personally am holding up quite well, but the dogs are going barking mad.

Take Mr. X, for instance. Trapped inside by the cold, he is keeping himself busy with a brand-new hobby -- peeing on things. I wish I was joking about that, but I am not. He appears to be guided by the following rules:

1) If it is on the floor, pee on it!

2) If it is not on the floor, pull it down onto the floor, then pee on it!

During this soul-destroying cold snap, Mr. X, who is unable to obey human commands because he has a brain the size of a breath mint, has hoisted his tiny leg and peed on a remarkable variety of floor-based items, including my laptop computer, my daughter's laptop, my wife's purse, my daughter's purse, an assortment of shoes, scarves and jackets, Christmas presents, decorative rugs, dozens of stuffed animals, magazines and newspapers, not to mention several space heaters, which, when turned on, begin to emit an eye-watering aroma that, if there was a slaughterhouse next door, would cause the workers to complain about the stench coming from our home.

As a noted dog expert, I realize there is a good reason Mr. X has become the indoor version of a lawn sprinkler. I just don't have a clue what it is. The vet has suggested that, since our main dog, Cooper the basset hound, passed away, Mr. X thinks he has climbed the corporate ladder, meaning the entire house is now his executive bathroom, but I have my doubts.

The wiener dog is the one I am most concerned about. Refusing to waddle outside, she has been spending her time on the couch engaged in a life-or-death struggle with two designer sofa cushions sent to us as a gift by my mother.

These are not your standard household cushions; these are huge, hairy cushions that seem to be covered in the hides of either long-haired goats or highland cattle.

Whatever, these huge furry pillows bring out the worst in our wiener dog, who will attack them at a moment's notice, gnawing and growling like a pint-sized wolverine.

And so, the other morning, I was standing in the kitchen, downing the first cup of coffee of the day, when the wiener dog strolled in and (gasp!) was sporting a long unruly beard that would make the hirsute guys from ZZ Top or Duck Dynasty green with envy.

After wiping the sleep from my eyes, it became clear that, after angrily shredding one of the gift pillows, large clumps of stray, scraggly cushion hair had become entangled in the wiener dog's drool-covered mouth and chin, making her look like the canine version of Fidel Castro.

The point is, we are doing just fine, but if the weather doesn't warm up soon, that second pillow is going to be a goner.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 29, 2014 A2

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Updated on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 7:03 AM CST: adds photo

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